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North Carolinians' Support for Anti-Gay Amendment 1 Falls to Record Low

The momentum is on the side of those opposed to the amendment. The numbers show a clear shift away from support of this odious amendment that started even before the Protect ALL NC Families campaign's new ads made it on the air in the state.
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Public Policy Polling has released a new poll showing that support among North Carolinians for the proposed anti-gay Amendment 1 has dropped to a record low. The proposed amendment, on the ballot for the May 8 primary, says that marriage between a man and a woman is the "only domestic legal union" that would be valid or recognized in the state once it passes. The new poll, conducted before the campaign opposing Amendment 1, Protect ALL NC Families, got their ads on the air, shows support at 54 percent of likely voters (with 40 percent opposed). This is a six-point shift from the numbers PPP released in the last poll of likely voters on March 29, which showed support for the amendment at 58 percent (with 38 percent opposed). That poll also suggested that when voters are made aware of what Amendment 1 would actually do, they are opposed to it narrowly; when they're told the amendment would ban civil unions for gay couples, "support goes down 17 points to 41 percent, and opposition rises 4 percent to 42 percent."

PPP used the ballot language itself in its questioning about the amendment.

Notably, this is the lowest level of support found in any poll on Amendment 1 in North Carolina by any polling firm. Also of note is the fact that there are more undecided voters in this poll, and that African-American support of Amendment 1 has shifted in significant numbers, going from 61 percent (with 30 percent opposed) percent to 51 percent (with 39 percent opposed) in a single month.

Now that Protect ALL NC Families has begun airing ads in opposition to the amendment, educating potential voters about the unintended consequences -- from its effects on children to victims of domestic violence -- the level of support will likely continue to drop.

Early voting is going on now, and the anti-amendment campaign is already on its way to break records in the state in terms of money, and voters are already turning out in pretty significant numbers in areas where opposition to the amendment is strongest. Pam Spaulding of North-Carolina-based Pam's House Blend wrote:

  • Online fundraising continues to accelerate -- half of the $600,000 raised has arrived in the last three weeks; the campaign is set to break the online record for fundraising in the state -- in only four months as opposed to the fourteen months in which the original record was set.
  • In terms of volunteer and GOTV efforts, the campaign reported there have been 6518 volunteer shifts as of yesterday. 3,000 more shifts for GOTV scheduled for next 3 weeks.
  • Chad Griffin noted how the campaign relates to the donors and the diverse, bi-partisan coalition as said it serves a model for campaigns to come. "It's amazing that Mr. Blankenhorn and I would be on the same side of this issue." [Referring to pro-Proposition 8 witness David Blankenhorn, who came out against Amendment One in a recent op-ed.]
  • Over $600,000 has been raised online, total. 80% of money coming from in-state; $95,000 towards the match has been raised out of the $100,000 challenge by Todd and Diana Stiefel of the Stiefel Freethought Foundation last week.

Julie Bolcer of The Advocate notes the turnout so far, even before the primary date of May 8:

In addition, some 50,000 North Carolinians already have cast ballots in early voting that began last Thursday, including 1200 ballots cast at Duke University in Durham, representing about one-third of the students on campus. Polls indicate that voters aged 18 to 34 overwhelmingly support marriage equality.

The bottom line is this: the momentum is on the side of those opposed to the amendment. The numbers show a clear shift away from support of this odious amendment that started even before the campaign's new ads made it on the air in the state. The numbers show that Democrats are moving against the amendment while independents oppose it still, and Republicans are generally in support.

In fact, the most movement we've seen is on the Democratic side:

The main movement over the last month has been with Democratic voters. Previously they were almost evenly divided on the amendment but now they're moving against it with only 38% still in support and 56% opposed. A big part of that is a shift among black voters. They still support it by a 51/39 margin, but that's well down from 61/30 on our a poll a month ago.

Finally, more voters are beginning to understand what the amendment will do. The poll shows that 27 percent of voters are still confused about the amendment's language, and 10 percent still think the amendment would legalize marriage equality. Since these last two polls both tracked likely voters, this suggests a trend and momentum for the opposition to the amendment.

PPP says, "There is some reason to think a huge upset in two weeks is within the realm of possibility... The amendment is still favored for passage, but it's looking like less and less of a sure thing."

This piece originally appeared on Prop 8 Trial Tracker.

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